Checking holiday entitlement

Bank holidays and Christmas

Your employer does not have to give you time off on a bank holiday or at Christmas if they’re not included in your leave entitlement or contract. This is the same whether you work full time or part time.

Your employer can also make you take your leave on bank holidays or at Christmas. For example, the business might shut for these days.

Remember bank holidays might be included in your paid holiday entitlement – you can check in your written terms of employment.

See which days are bank holidays on GOV.UK.

It’s a good idea to arrange your holiday dates with your employer as early as possible.

If your employer changes when they open or close

Your employer has the right to make changes to when you take holiday if they need to.

So for example, they can decide to shut over Christmas and force their employees to take paid leave, even if in previous years the business was open over Christmas.

If your employer requires you to take paid leave, they should give good notice. They should give you at least twice as long as the period they want you to take.

For example, if they want you to take 1 week of holiday, they should tell you 2 weeks before.

Before making a change to the way staff take holidays, your employer might need to consider whether there has been custom and practice.

If your employer is making significant, long-term changes, for example to the amount of holiday days or pay they give, they must follow the process for changing a contract.

Bank holidays in lieu

If a bank holiday falls on one of your normal working days and you do not want to take the day as annual leave, you could ask your employer if you can work the bank holiday and take leave on another day instead.

This is taking a day’s annual leave 'in lieu'. Your employer does not have to agree to this.

You can only get paid in lieu of bank holidays when they are part of untaken statutory leave when your employment ends.

If you work on a bank holiday, you must still get your full 5.6 weeks (pro rata if you’re part time) of annual leave as paid time off.

Bank holidays if you are on sick or maternity leave

When you are on sick, maternity, paternity or adoption leave, you still build up (‘accrue’) paid days off for bank holidays if they are included in your holiday entitlement.